Manley Labs Chinook Special Edition MKII
The best just got better! The new Chinook SE MKII features four gain settings for expanded cartridge compatibility.
Okay, guys and gals…you’ve seen my video on this. If you haven’t, see it below. I will say this again: The Chinook is unlike any other phono stage at even twice the price. I know the tube phono stages that are available for $2500 because I have them available to me to sell. I’m a dealer for them (I won’t say who they are). But I can’t in good conscience bring myself to sell them, knowing I have the Chinook to sell!
The $8400 Manley Steelhead has been considered the gold standard in tube phono stages. But if you don’t need inputs to run three different cartridges at once, a line input, or a remote control, this is the answer.
Nothing up to $5000 will compete with the Chinook for sound quality and quietness. The build quality is impeccable. And it’s super flexible so no matter where you go in cartridges down the road you will be able to fine-tune loading and capacitance perfect for the cartridge you own.
But I have to tell it like it is. The Chinook is the one. Everybody wants a Steelhead. It’s the best period. Not everybody has $8400, and not everybody needs inputs for 3 tonearms and a remote volume. If you’re one of those folks here it is. So I got thinking: It’s very popular to use the Chinook with PrimaLuna preamps and integrated amps.
Wouldn’t it be cool if I could offer the Chinook in black and silver to match instead of the “Pro Audio World” Manley-purple finish? Don't get me wrong, the Manley color which is a hint of blue and purple is slick, but it doesn't quite match with PrimaLuna or most other brands we sell. So I asked them to make up the faceplates, and while they’re at it, we got rid of the vestigial rack-mount holes. It looked great. But what to call it? How about Chinook Special Edition.
Then, to make it a real Upscale Audio collaboration, we take out the stock EH 6922s, and replace them with Upscale Audio graded and tested, cryo-treated Tungsram PCC88s. This is done at the factory, so you're still getting a factory-sealed piece here, don't worry. We've had great feedback from Chinook owners on this tube, and we knew it'd be a great little addition to this Upscale Audio exclusive piece!
Like the Steelhead, each channel employs the two triode sections of a 6922 for amplifying duties with highly accurate passive RIAA equalization networks. In the Chinook, the signal is then directly coupled to another 6922 dual triode serving as the output driver in a White Follower configuration. This output stage circuit is our favorite because of its super-low output impedance and beefy current-driving capabilities. It can drive long cable lengths and difficult loads, tube or solid-state. Bring it on. No wimpy cathode followers here!
Setting up the Chinook couldn't be easier. There are four internal settings for optimal gain: 45dB or 50dB for Moving-Magnet cartridges and 60dB or 65dB for Moving-Coil cartridges. Set it and forget it! The back panel contains DIP switches for adjusting the input resistive and capacitance loading values. 31 possible options between 26 and 800 Ohms plus 47k Ohms and 7 capacitive loading choices between 50 pF and 350 pF provide flexibility to match any cartridge and fine tune the tone. Audiophile-grade and time-proven componentry is used throughout, embodying Manley's dedication to seductive sonics, combined with the reliability that professionals around the world depend on. At just about a quarter of the price of our revered Steelhead preamplifier, the Chinook's focus is on elegance of design, careful execution, efficient construction, and appreciable quality.
Designed and built in California, the Chinook exemplifies Manley's commitment to our local community and to a simple, clean, and quiet signal path. The Chinook demonstrates the supreme linearity of vacuum tubes while providing the flexibility needed to embrace any turntable setup. Everything from the most exotic 180-gram audiophile pressing to 25 cent thrift-store classics will be reproduced accurately and musically.
Features and Specifications
- Vacuum Tube Complement: 6922 x 2 (gain stage) plus 6922 x2 (output stage). Any 6DJ8, 7308, ECC88 types may be used.
- Unbalanced Input and Output connections via Manley Teflon®& Gold plated RCA jacks
- Automatic Mute Timer: On initial power up output jacks are muted for approximately 45 seconds. Automatic mute circuit allows tubes to warm up and circuitry to settle. At power down, output jacks are immediately muted.
- Input Termination Capacitance (MM/MC): 3-position user-selectable capacitor values of 50pF, 100pF, and 200pF yield resultant combinations of: 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, 300, and 350pF
- Moving Magnet Input Impedance: 47k Ohms, fixed
- Moving Coil (MC) Input Impedance: 5-position user-selectable resistor values of 50, 100, 200, 400, and 800 Ohms. There are 32 possible loading possibilities.
- Gain: Internal DIP switches select 45dB, 50dB, 60dB, 65dB
- Deviation from RIAA curve: Less than ± 0.5 dB from 20Hz to 20kHz at any gain setting. Typically less than ±1dB from 10Hz to 100kHz.
- Distortion (THD+N) (47k Ohm Input Termination, 45dB gain, 1kHz sine, 0dBu output): Typical 0.010% THD+N, into 100k Ohm load, BW = 100Hz-22kHz
- Distortion (THD+N) (47k Ohm Input Termination, 45dB gain, 1kHz sine, 0dBu output): Typical 0.030% THD+N, into 600 Ohm load, BW = 100Hz-22kHz
- Dynamic Range (MM input, Gain set to 45db, 200 Ohm source): 91dB @ 1kHz, 0.1% THD+N, BW = 22Hz-22kHz
- Dynamic Range (MM input, Gain set to 45db, 200 Ohm source): 107dB @ 1kHz, 1.0% THD+N, BW = 22Hz-22kHz
- Noise Floor at 45dB gain setting with shorted input: -84 dBu, A-weighted
- Noise Floor at 60dB gain setting with shorted input: -75 dBu, A-weighted
- Maximum Input at 45dB gain setting with 20 Ohm Source Z @ 1kHz into 10 kOhm load: 250mV RMS = +34.5 dBu @ 1% THD+N BW=22Hz-22kHz
- Maximum Input at 60dB gain setting with 20 Ohm Source Z @ 1kHz into 10 kOhm load: 40mV RMS = +34.2 dBu @ 1% THD+N BW=22Hz-22kHz
- Maximum Output: +37dBu @ 1kHz, 1.5% THD+N into 100 kOhm load
- Output Impedance: 91 Ohms
- Minimum Recommended Load: 2500 Ohms
- Internal Power Supply: Fully regulated linear B+, Heater, and control voltage rails.
- Operating Mains Voltage: Units are built for original destination country's mains voltage: 100V, 120V, or 220-240VAC as indicated on the serial number badge.
- Power Consumption in Standby mode: 1 Watt (8.0mA @ 120VAC)
- Power Consumption: 42 Watts (345mA @ 120VAC)
- Mains Voltage Frequency: 50~60Hz
- Power Transformer: Toroid contruction for low radiation.
- Mains Fuse for 100V-120V operation: 500mA SLO-BLO size 5mm x 20mm
- Mains Fuse for 220V-240V operation: 250mA SLO-BLO size 5mm x 20mm
- Standby Transformer Fuse for all voltage operation 100V-240V: 10mA, SLO-BLO, MDL type size 1/4" x 1 1/4"
- Badge Lamp: LED illumination
- Dimensions: W=19", L=11", H=3 1/2"